Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription Access

Palliative Care Needs of People Living in a Newly Established Informal Settlement

Martjie De Villiers, Johanna Elizabeth Maree, Corrien Van Belkum


Evidence-based guidance for the delivery of palliative care in Africa is rare. Identifying the palliative care needs of this community could contribute evidence to guide the services provided, and could add to the body of knowledge of palliative care in Africa. Using a retrospective chart review research method, the researchers aimed to describe the palliative care needs of people using a nurse-led palliative care service situated in a newly established, underserved, informal settlement in Tshwane, Gauteng, South Africa. A quantitative inductive content analysis method was used to analyse the data. The sample realised at 48 (n = 48). The ages of patients ranged from 21 to 78 with the median age 47. Nearly half (45.9%) of the patients were functionally illiterate. The records reflected 85 different medical diagnoses and some patients suffered more than one illness. The most common diagnosis was HIV/AIDS (54.2%). Furthermore, records revealed 379 health problems, ranging from 1 to 17 per patient, with an average of 8.1. Most problems were physical symptoms (50.3%; n = 195), while 38.8 per cent (n = 147) were psychosocial problems and 9.8 per cent (n = 37) were spiritual problems. The need for pain relief (89.6%; n = 43) was the greatest, followed by the need for emotional support. Patients suffering from various medical diagnoses used the services of the palliative care clinic. Patients’ care needs revolved around relief from total pain. Therefore, nurses should become aware of the suffering of palliative patients living in resource-poor communities, and through meticulous assessment, identify their main care needs.


palliative care; palliative care needs; most prevalent problem; resource-poor community

Full Text: